Over or Under – have your rudder your way.

Optional over-stern rudder prevents damage from shallows and submerged obstacles.
Optional over-stern rudder prevents damage from shallows and submerged obstacles.

Surf skis, originally developed as life guard rescue skis, have traditionally been focused on ocean paddling – big waves and deep water. Hence the reason nearly all skis have under-stern rudders. The under-stern rudder works marvelously in that element: it provides excellent control, quicker reaction (due to the closer placement to the CG/CP), and it generally stays in the water when the waves grow bigger (it’s hard to control a surf ski when the rudder is only biting into air). Unfortunately for those of us who generally paddle flat water, the presence of an under-stern rudder sets our boats up for anything from the annoyance of a bent rudder to the frustration of experiencing serious boat damage if we should be so unfortunate as to whack a solid rock, log, or similar as we paddle down our favorite rivers and even some lakes. The obvious solution to this problem is to equip our skis with kick-up over-stern rudders, but doing so has typically required a bit of handyman skills to fabricate an effective and aesthetically pleasing installation. Stellar Kayaks now has an awesome solution: any surf ski in the line can be equipped from the factory with an over-stern rudder for around $150, plus the cost of the rudder assembly. Stellar’s solution is slick, allowing rapid change between under-stern and over-stern rudders, should your paddling conditions vary. Stellar installs the rudder tube for the Smart Track Race Rudder, all reinforcing to the hull, and the line tubes into the under-stern rudder crank housing. A false shaft in the under-stern rudder tube keeps everything set up for a quick swap to the under-stern rudder, while the over-stern rudder lines simply connect to the under-stern rudder crank. The over-stern rudder then installs or removes with a quick 90 degree turn into the rudder tube. Now you can have the best of both worlds!

3 thoughts on “Over or Under – have your rudder your way.

    1. I failed to note in my write-up that the S18S comes with the fitting for the over-stern rudder (although you will need to purchase the over-stern rudder separately). Glad to hear it works well for you, Doug. The one on my S18S works superbly as well!

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